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Art&Seek on Think TV: Playwright Douglas Carter Beane
by Jerome Weeks 22 Jan 2010

Douglas Carter Beane has been nominated for two Tony Awards for some very funny writing: his satire of closeted celebs, The Little Dog Laughed, and his musical spoof of the wretched roller-disco film, Xanadu. Now his musical adaptation of the classic Greek sex-and-war comedy, Lysistrata, is debuting at the Dallas Theater Center as Give It Up! Put down the spears: This time, it’s all about college basketball and cheerleaders.


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Will flashy-campy-funny-Broadway musical success strike Douglas Carter Beane again? Beane’s best writing has been in his tart, smart, comic take-downs of America’s obsession with celebrity and fame — as forms of self-creation and self-deception — in such plays as The Little Dog Laughed, As Bees in Honey Drown and Music from a Sparkling Planet. (He’s at it again with his latest stage comedy, Mr. and Mrs. Fitch, starring John Lithgow and Jennifer Ehle as married gossip columnists, opening next week off-Broadway at Second Stage.)

But his most commercially successful work has been his spoof of the dreadful 2000 Olivia Newton-John vehicle, Xanadu (the musical is touring to Dallas in April). Now he and his partner, composer-lyricist Lewis Flinn, have transplanted Aristophanes’ great anti-war comedy, Lysistrata — to a college basketball court. Give It Up! is currently being presented by the Dallas Theater Center at the Wyly Theatre.

We talk to Beane about apathy, his fascination with classic Greek theater (he hopes it gives his writing some depth, any depth, which is why he keeps sticking it into musicals) and his new career as a stewardess.